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End of Season: Girls basketball shares their season’s insights

Seniors+Megan+Diep%2C+Malia+Ishibashi%2C+Lilianna+Craig%2C+Priyana+Jhaveri%2C+and+Samantha+Najera+pose+for+one+final+picture+together+during+senior+night.
Ayala Women’s Basketball
Seniors Megan Diep, Malia Ishibashi, Lilianna Craig, Priyana Jhaveri, and Samantha Najera pose for one final picture together during senior night.

As winter sports seasons come to a close, the varsity girls basketball team share their insight on the season’s highlights. With Seniors Megan Diep, Malia Ishibashi, Priyana Jhaveri, Lilliana Craig, and Samantha Najera departing the team next year, the girls and coaches look back at their favorite moments and accomplishments from the 2023-2024 year. 

For any type of team, improvement within team bonding is essential to building strong relationships.

“This season we were able to become closer outside of the gym,” senior and team captain Malia Ishibashi states. “It really helped our chemistry on the court and in being able to support one another when times got tough.”

Also graduating senior and team captain, Megan Diep, shares her thoughts on the change in the team’s dynamic within girls basketball at Ayala and how the team correlation has changed. 

“Last year there was a noticeable gap between JV and varsity,” Diep said. “This year, however, we grew closer with everyone, making everything so much more fun and memorable.” 

For the seniors, having each other’s backs when times were tough, were what brought them closer than ever. Both Ishibashi and Diep stated how other varsity players, including freshman Rachel Chen, Sophomore Liliana Acosta, and Sophomore Addie Gonzalez, pushed them both to become better players and brought them up when their heads hung low. 

“My teammate, Malia, has definitely helped to shut down my own negative feelings towards playing,” Diep states. 

No team is perfect and can always find ways to improve their skills on the court as a team, and off the court individually. Head Coach Amber Jackson shares how they can improve to come back bigger and better than ever for future seasons. 

“Learning more about team unity and re-learning the meaning of basketball helps us understand the work it takes to improve our basketball,” Coach Jackson states. “But a lot of the girls already raised their maturity level up and learned how to coexist in tough situations.” She further states how “work ethic and determination” are the main focuses for improving the team for next year and hopefully enter the CIF Playoffs for the 2024-2025 season. 

Diep and Ishibashi also share how the team communication on offense and defense had improved and the trust they had slowly built in each other helped them work better as a team. 

When the season ended, the seniors shared their favorite core memories and team accomplishments from the season they will cherish forever. 

“One of my favorite memories was from our last game of the season,” Diep shares. “Although it was such a bittersweet moment, my last game ever with this team just reminded me of how far I have come.”

Megan went on to say how important the JV and varsity girls cheering for each other on the very last season game was, lifted their spirits, giving the unhappy atmosphere a positive energy. Malia Ishibashi also shared how their win against Colony High school at the Titan’s home court, after coming back from a large deficit, was a core memory she cherished from this season as well. 

After a season full of emotions, ups and downs, wins and losses, and hellos and goodbyes, the Ayala girls varsity basketball team hopes to build stronger bonds and deeper connections with each other while improving their skills and basketball knowledge on and off the court. However, this 2023-2024 season was one the seniors would revere forever. 

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About the Contributor
Ayushka Chethan, Staff Member
Ayushka Chethan is a sophomore reporter for the Bulldog Times. This is her first year as part of the Bulldog Times staff and she is excited to challenge herself with new writing techniques and learning about different interviewing styles she can use when preparing for writing an article. Ayushka looks forward to working in the sports department and hopefully publishing many articles having to do with many sports she is familiar with such as football and basketball. Outside of working in journalism, Ayushka is part of the girls JV basketball team, and enjoys spending her free time watching highlights from recent NFL or NBA games. Ayushka enjoys listening to music, sketching, hanging out with friends, and going to games with family. 
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